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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Crazy Quilt Christmas Ornaments

I got a little too close with the flash on this piece, but I was looking for a few small things to stitch and decided to do a couple of Crazy Quilt Christmas Ornaments:

I stitched this up last night and started another one this morning.  They will hang on the diagonal like I've shown here in the photo.  I have some little bell like ornaments to hang from the point.

I like to keep a drawer of "ready to stitch" blocks on hand.  Sometimes, I'll take a day and just sew a pile of things and then put them in the drawer.  That way, if I don't have time to sew a block, at least I have some things to stitch on.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Cottage Beach Seascape Bowl Fillers

I have some finishes to share today.  First, my Crazy Quilt Bird Pillow is done and it's so pretty!


I love the soft, wide cream colored lace that I used on it.

And my Seascape Bowl Fillers are done:



Everything is included except the bowl!  The Crazy Quilt Pillow, the seashells, the faux pearls and the hand dyed cheesecloth for lining the bowl!

Maria had asked me how I made the anemones.  I confess, I did not make those.  I'm fortunate to have a home decor store give me their outdated fabric and trim books.

So my anemones are nothing more than little tassels!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Marias Crazy Quilt Purse

One of my students, Maria, sent me photos of a lovely purse that she made recently.  I thought I'd share it here on my blog today:


As you can see, the back of Maria's purse is just as beautiful as the front!

I finished up my seascapes this morning.  All are sewn and stuffed and hand finished.  I'll get photos of those over the weekend.

In other news, the little black and white kitty that I posted yesterday was adopted before Scott and I could make arrangements to go see him.   They're will be other kitties.  Will keep ya'll posted.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Seascapes and Kittens

I've been working on my crazy quilt seascapes.  The 2nd one is finished and third one just needs the fishies.  Here's a photo of #2:

I'm going to turn the computer off in a few minutes and add the fish to #3 and then get them sewn together. 

In other news, it's been almost a year since I lost Simba.  I miss him terribly and after 4 years, I still miss Garfield.  But I can't have them back.  So Scott and I decided it was time to adopt a kitten.  And then we decided that we're going to adopt 2 kittens.

This little one is available for adoption:

He's 7 weeks old.  I've already filled out the adoption paperwork on this little guy.  His current name is Max but we'll be changing that.  I'll let Scott pick a name for this baby.

Also, I've been wanting a white kitty and have been watching this pretty mama kitty at Angel Wishes Adoption Center up in Madison Wisconsin.  She had her babies on Saturday and as you can see, there are white babies! 

So incredibly precious!  Of course, it'll be awhile before I can adopt one of these little ones but again, I've filled out the paperwork and been in touch with one of the volunteers so we're getting the ball rolling.  Our white kitten will be named Cupid.  I picked that name back at Christmas. 

Just thought I would share.  I'll keep you posted and let you know when I hear more from the adoption centers.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Online Crazy Quilt Class Lesson 5

Just a quick note for today everyone!  I'm pleased to announce that Lesson 5 of my Online Crazy Quilt Class is now available:

Lesson 5 can be purchased from Magcloud.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Seascape Bowl Fillers

I didn't realize that it had been almost a week since I blogged.  I've been keeping very busy sewing up new blocks to stitch on, planning the fall and Christmas projects I want to do for the upcoming holiday season; yes, I know it seems a bit early but when you make things to sell, you have think 6 months in advance!

Lesson 5 of my Color and Composition Class is almost ready.  My end of it is done so it's now in Jason's capable hands.  He's putting it together and we expect to release it a few days early.

Jason has also been working on my getting my upcoming book, "Elegant Cross Stitch Sentiments For Crazy Quilting" ready for release.  We're anticipating a mid to late May release date!  I'm pretty excited about this book because of it's versatility.  I know it will appeal to crazy quilters but I expect it will appeal to cross stitchers as well.  There are over 60 small cross stitch designs in this book which span the holidays and seasons as well as other sentiments such as Happy Birthday, Believe, Inspire, Welcome and so on.  Perfect for quick little gifts and awesome worked into crazy quilt pieces.

I have been stitching away on my projects too.  First, a pillow that I finished stitching up last week:

This piece features a vintage bird image and hand painted lace from Nicki Lee.  I've already pulled fabric for the back and intend to get this piece sewn up this week.

At the moment, I'm working on Seascape Bowl Fillers.  What are seascape bowl fillers you may ask?  They start with a crazy quilt piece.  I finished this one up yesterday:

And this one was started early this morning:

I'm very fortunate to be given outdated fabric and trim sample books from a local decorating store.  The small pieces of trim give me a lot of embellishing options.  That pretty green ribbon is from one of the trim books.

Be sure to follow my progress on these so you can see what else will be going into these bowl fillers!





Tuesday, April 16, 2013

America's Quilts And Coverlets

Scott and I went up to the Wilmot Wisconsin Flea Market on Sunday for a little something to do.  We braved the cold wind and drizzle just to walk around outside and get a bit of fresh air.  It wasn't very big but I did find a $3.00 treasure.

America's Quilts and Coverlets by Carleton L. Safford and Robert Bishop.  Published in 1974 by Weathervane Books a division of Barre Publishing Company, Inc.

The copyright information is as follows:

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without permission in writing from the publishers, except by a reviewer who wishes to quote brief passages in connection with a review written for inclusion in a magazine, newspaper, or broadcast.

For the purpose of review, I'd like to say this is an excellent historical reference book regarding the history and makers of both quilts and woven coverlets.  It's an old book, but is loaded with photos of every type of quilt imaginable.

And yes, it includes crazy quilting!  I'm going to share a brief portion of the introduction to Crazy Quilting chapter:

The Crazy Quilt

Despite it's name, the crazy quilt is usually not quilted, but is finished instead by "tufting" the top, the stuffing, and the lining at regular intervals.  At the time of it's great popularity in the Victorian period it was used as a "parlor throw" and was primarily meant for show, but it was also useful for a short nap.  These throws were of all sizes and weights, shapes and colors.  Their principal charm comes from the great variety of embroidery used to embellish them.

The fad for the crazy quilt involved much sentiment and no house was complete without one for the parlor.  The pieces that were sewn together helter-skelter as patchwork were garnered from trunks, relatives, neighbors, wedding dresses, graduation hair ribbons, baby clothes, prize-winner's ribbons, men's ties, - in fact, anything for "remembrance sake" was eligible.  Velvet, silk, calico, and wool were used, but no particular pattern was followed.  The patch was usually added in the shape that it came to the quiltmaker.  The real success of the final "quilt" was not judged by its pattern or a pleasing combination of colors, but by the originality of the embroidery that decorated its surface.  Some women with a daring imagination and the ability to draw a little came up with excellent examples of folk art in this medium.  Each crazy quilt is individual, for one could collect a thousand and not have any two that were just alike.

Modern collectors of  crazy quilts can be selective since there are many specimens still available.  However, many connoisseurs of early bedcovers tend to dismiss this type of quilt for not being on a par with other types we have discussed.  To quote one on the subject:  "Materials were assembled that were never born for each other;  it's plan of construction suggested the splintered points left by a stone in its passage through a window; pattern it cannot be called, for pattern is ordered relation."




I find that last quote to be amusing!  And I'm not sure how many crazy quilts are still around as many have deteriorated over the years!  Quite honestly, I've seen very few antique crazy quilts that I would call attractive.  The obnoxious combination of colors included on many of them is visually offensive!  However, as ya'll know, the random piecework and "no rules" approach to the art quilt is what I myself find favorable. 

Just thought you'd enjoy reading that excerpt. 



Sunday, April 14, 2013

Heart Bowl Fillers Crazy Quilt Cottage Decor

Just a quick update for today ladies, it's just about time to get dinner together.  I finished up the 4 sets of Heart Bowl Fillers that I was working on last week:




These were a lot of fun to make and a perfect centerpiece for anyone with pets!  They're non breakable!

My next bowl fillers will be seascapes.  I always like to make some under the sea crazy quilt pieces for Summer!



Saturday, April 13, 2013

Value The Arts

The following article appeared in the Chicago Tribune last week.  It was written by an artist name Kathleen Hardy from Chicago.  It's really a reply to a letter published a few weeks previously.  Since I have been a self employed, freelance artist for so many years, it really struck a cord in me so I am reposting it.  Please note that I have given credit both to the author who wrote the letter/reply as well as to the Chicago Tribune.

Value The Arts

A letter writer in the March 21 Voice of the People wrote:  "We liked the smaller bandstands (at former Taste of Chicago festivals) that would feature local artists.  I'm sure many of these bands would play for almost nothing just to be able to have others hear their music."
He is wrong about that!  Why is it that artists (of any genre) are expected to work for "almost nothing"?

Would anyone seriously say to an accountant, "Do my taxes for free; I'll tell everyone what a great job you did!  It'll be great exposure for you!  You should be happy to have others just see your work for almost nothing!"

Or how about, "Doctor, you should be happy just to have others see the nice job you did on setting my broken bone!"

None of these things happens in real life, so why should we expect artists to work for nothing?

Is it possible that people in America have no idea that artists eat food, pay rent and have kids just like they do?

Do people in America have no idea that an artist has to pay money for supplies to be able to create the art that many want to enjoy for free?

Do they understand that in order for artists to exhibit their work in craft shows, they have to pay money to be there?

Do they understand that many artists actually did go to college for training in their fields and now have student loans to pay back too?

We are often freelancers, so we don't have employee benefits like health care.

Those things are paid for out of our own pockets; our art pays for these things.

To have someone enter the booth and exclaim, "You're charging THAT much (for a unique, one-of-a-kind item)?" shows the level of disconnect between people and their jobs and artists and our jobs.

It is mystifying to us for people to tell us how we should simply be grateful for people to want to celebrate and share our work, yet somehow expect us to live without a salary, let alone keep creating.

If we truly value the arts, maybe we should compensate the artists commensurately.

Kathleen Hardy, Chicago
Chicago Tribune

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Gingham Dog And The Calico Cat Bowl Fillers

Okay, this will tell my mom's age!  LOL!!!  Don't tell her I said that!  Her latest in Bowl Fillers is this set of a Gingham Dog and a Calico Cat:

Based on the poem by Eugene Field 1850 - 1895.  Apparently, based on the poem, the contents of an antique shop get in a quibble!  The story is actually quite cute!

Anyway, mom always liked that little poem so she recreated it as a set of Cottage Chic Bowl Fillers!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

New Crazy Quilt Book Coming Soon!

I'm thrilled to announce that Jason has the cover for my upcoming Crazy Quilt book all ready so I thought I'd share it with you today.  Here it is, Elegant Cross Stitch Sentiments For Crazy Quilting:

We're looking at a release date around mid-May.  I'll keep ya'll posted on that!  And don't forget, the models that I did for the book are over at my Etsy shop!

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Crazy Quilt Online Course - Student Block

Last but not least for today, is the beautiful work of one of my students, Maria.  This Maria's completed Lesson 4 of my Online Crazy Quilt Course:

Maria's block is absolutely stunning!  I don't think I would change a thing about it.  The bee is gorgeous and there's such a nice variety of stitches here.  Well balanced and just lovely!  Thank you Maria for sending me the photo to share on my blog!

Elegant Cross Stitch Sentiments For Crazy Quilting

I've been chattering a lot about my upcoming book, Elegant Cross Stitch Sentiments For Crazy Quilting.  No, I really don't design much cross stitch anymore but I had this fun idea for a book with some small cross stitch designs that could be used on crazy quilts.  It took me awhile to design the 60 plus patterns and then awhile longer to stitch up some models:





My assistant and editor Jason, is in the process of converting the patterns and putting the book together.  I'll have more information in the next couple of weeks regarding the book but in the meantime, I'm making some of the models available for purchase.  I'm keeping the Halloween one but the rest are in my Etsy shop.  And just so ya'll know, that purple and green hanging pillow is the cover design!

What Are Bowl Fillers?

I was recently asked about Bowl Fillers.  What Are Bowl Fillers to be exact?  Bowl fillers are the hottest new trend in home decor and decorating.  Bowl fillers can be any collection of things that are small enough to display in a pretty bowl and set on a dining table or coffee table as a center piece.

They can be something as simple as vintage glass Christmas ornaments, pinecones or seashells.  Mom and I have had a lot of fun coming up with new ideas for bowl fillers.  Here are some of mom's:







Some of these are still available and I know that mom is working on all sorts of new bowl fillers!  And as I mentioned yesterday, I'm working on 4 sets of crazy quilt hearts for bowl fillers!  Hope to run my sewing machine most of the day tomorrow!

Cottage Style Gingham Pillows

I have a couple of fun things to share with you today so I'll do a couple of different blog posts.

First, I thought I'd share my mom's latest creations.  These are her Cottage Style Gingham Pillows:



Made from vintage place mats!  Mom put them on a gingham background and added some pretty lace and trim.  I can see these as a set all lined up on a pretty bench or bed!

Monday, April 08, 2013

Crazy Quilt Hearts Future Bowl Fillers

First, I'd like to wish a warm welcome to all of the new ladies who are following my blog!  All of a sudden, I see some new faces!  Thank you and please leave me comments!

I've been stitching and sewing and am working away on all sorts of new things here.  This is a set of future Crazy Quilt Hearts for Bowl Fillers.  I just finished stitching the last one this morning:




 

Each Crazy Quilt Heart will have 2 coordinating fabric hearts with it so there will be 4 sets available.  The next step is to sew these up along with their little companions.  My mom's bowl fillers have flown out the door so I thought I'd get on the band wagon with a few too!

In other news, Jason, my assistant and editor is about 1/2 way done with my upcoming book, "Elegant Cross Stitch Sentiments For Crazy Quilting".  Jason does an amazing job with my books and so far, it looks like this one will be phenomenal!  I finished putting all the models together over the weekend so I'll be photographing them tomorrow and getting the JPEG's to Jason.  At that point, he'll get the cover ready so I can share it here!

My next stitching project, which I'll be starting this evening, is Lesson 5 for my Online Crazy Quilt Course.  The release date for that is April 30th!

For now, I have a few new things from mom to list so I'll hope over to Etsy and do that.


Thursday, April 04, 2013

Student Crazy Quilt Blocks Lesson 4

I'm thrilled with the improvements and creativity that I 'm seeing in my students work.  They're finishing up on Lesson 4 so I thought I'd share the photos that they've sent to me.  This is my example block:

I'm starting to give everyone more freedom now that they have the hang of my teaching style.  And the girls are starting to have a better understanding of working with color to compose a well balanced block.

The only requirements for this block is that it had to be worked in yellow, white and green and the bee had to be used.  As you can see, I'm starting to focus on more techiniques now and letting the girls learn how to work with color through those techniques.  Yes, there is always a method to my madness!

This is Cris' block:

Cris struggled a bit with the first 3 lessons but judging by lesson 4, she's starting to see how colors compliment each other and how to use them to balance a block.  Cris used a nice variety of stitches and embellishments and although I would add more sequins (that's just me.  I love sequins!), that's really just a matter of personal preference.

Next we have Karin's block:

Karin's block is beautiful!  Heavily embellished and well balanced.  I'm not sure what Karin did for the wings on the bee but Karin, if you're reading this, please leave us a message in the comments so we know what you did.  Again, there's a nice variety of stitches and embellishments on Karin's block.  Lovely work Karin!  Job well done!

Finally for today, we have Joyce's block:

Joyce came up with a very unique way to display her bee.  Check out that sunflower!  Excellent!!!!!!!!!  Amazingly creative!  Joyce doesn't feel like her block is done yet so I made a few suggestions for her:

If you're ever stuck on a crazy quilt block, photograph it or scan it into your computer and play with it a little bit using whatever graphic software you have.  I use Corel Photopaint but Paint Shop Pro would work, Photoshop would work and Microsoft Paint would probably work.  Simply "draw" on the image of your block to try different things before actually stitching on them.

It always helps to look at your block from a distance.  I keep my stitched piece propped up on a chair in my living room when I'm not working on it.  That way, I can glance at it as I walk around and see where things need to be balanced.

Joyce, I hope my suggestions help you!






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